By Tiffany Kelly, Beyond Bamboo

You know that there are a variety of ways to cut down the amount of water we use in our bathrooms: dual flush toilets typically only use about half the amount of a traditional toilet; turn off the tap while brushing your teeth; take showers rather than baths. But there are other ways that your bathroom (arguably the most wasteful room in your house) can do its bit for the planet. With some simple swaps, and a slight change of mindset when making purchases, you can make your household that little bit greener.

  1. Go Plastic Free

Less than a third of all plastic in the UK is recycled and every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans. So, every time you buy a new shampoo, toilet cleaner or hand soap, make sure it doesn’t come in single-use plastic.

  1. Plants

Many plants love the humid, moist environment that your bathroom can provide and are often great for air purification. Houseplants can literally filter out harmful toxins from things like paint and cleaners and help to clean the air that we then breathe in.

  1. Refillables and reusables

For more sustainable options in your bathroom, opt for refillables that can be refilled at your local conscious living shop. Choose compostable packaging, and glass or metal containers that last. This prolongs the use of existing materials and minimises the new materials needed while also lowering transport costs and C02 emissions. Refillable bottles are usually made of glass or metal and can look really stylish in your bathroom.

Think of anything that can be washed and used time and time again. This helps cut down on single-use items such as wet wipes (which often contain micro-plastics), plastic packaging and chemical toxins; all of these end up in the bin and then landfill, or our oceans. Wash cloths and reusable make-up remover pads are a great place to start.

  1. Choose Sustainable Materials

Bamboo is a great sustainable choice: it grows fast, is completely renewable, and can be made into a myriad of items, such as toothbrushes, razors, cotton buds, wash cloths, toilet roll, soap dishes, and hair and makeup brushes. The list is endless! These bamboo products are also compostable once you’ve finished with them, so they are all zero-waste.

  1. Natural Products

Products derived from natural substances generally contain far fewer toxins. This is good news for the environment, (fewer toxins being washed down drains, into water supplies and harming wildlife) and for our health. Reducing the toxins in our diet and in the products that we use directly on our bodies will reduce the chances of allergic reactions, dry skin and the build-up of harmful additives which can lead to health problems and disease.

  1. Soap, Shampoo and Moisturiser Bars

The move towards bars rather than bottles is a great step in the right direction. Many of these bars are made from natural ingredients and are kind to the skin. Look out for ones packaged in cardboard or paper rather than plastic. Plastic is hard to recycle and requires fossil fuels in its production; the more we can remove plastic from our bathroom purchases, the better.  Bars are inexpensive swaps, and you can experiment with the many different fragrances and textures to find the ones that really suit you and your family’s needs.

  1. Waterless Products

Water is a common additive because it’s both an affordable and a neutral ingredient – it can be added to virtually any product without concerns over skin reactions. However, H2O does promote the growth of microorganisms, and that means preservatives must also be used, raising questions over potential negative impacts. A huge benefit of an anhydrous (waterless) product is that when you remove the water, you can produce more highly concentrated formula, which means lighter applications of a product with the same amount of oomph. In other words, a little goes a long way. What’s more, this smaller footprint requires less packaging and reduces transportation costs.

  1. Choose Cruelty Free Products

Each year, more than 100 million animals—including mice, rats, frogs, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, monkeys, fish, and birds—are killed in U.S. laboratories for biology lessons, medical training, curiosity-driven experimentation, and chemical, drug, food, and cosmetics testing. Cruelty-free is a label for a product that does not harm or kill animals anywhere along its supply chain. Products tested on animals are not considered cruelty-free, since these tests are often painful and cause the suffering and death of the animal. Look for Vegan Society or Leaping Bunny Certified products to be sure that the products have not been tested on animals.

  1. Toilet Paper

This is one of those items that most of us feel we cannot live without. However, you can now choose from many eco-friendly brands that have developed rolls made from sustainable materials (such as bamboo). They have also thought carefully about their packaging, ensuring that it is either 100% biodegradable or fully recyclable. And many support community projects too.

  1. Encouraging ethical businesses

When we start to make more conscious choices about the way we live and the products we purchase, we often notice that we start to buy from smaller, independent brands. These are often the ones leading the way with natural, low waste, sustainable alternatives. These smaller businesses are set up by passionate people who have spotted the need for change. They have developed products and services that offer us greener, healthier alternatives. Eco-friendly or sustainable products often seem to have a higher price tag, but in our experience these items generally have a longer life, so you end up making savings when compared to sticking with the traditional plastic bottle and chemical filled brands that we’re used to seeing on supermarket shelves. In addition, many of these small independent brands are also supporting charities and their communities, which contributes towards a more circular, no waste approach to the economy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tiffany Kelly is founder of Beyond Bamboo, a global community of sustainable products, services and suppliers working as a collective to restore and rejuvenate the planet. With a marketplace, a B2B supplier portal, a knowledge hub and a team of passionate people dedicated to triple bottom line reporting, Beyond Bamboo aims to help us all do well by doing good.

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